Lampard started his managerial career with the Championship side Derby County on 31st May 2018 on a three-year contract. In his first season, he led Derby to the finals of Play-offs beating Bielsa’s Leeds in the semi-final in an overall aggregate of 4-3 but lost the final to Aston Villa by 2-1. Derby finished the season at 6th place in the league table. On 25th June Derby allowed Lampard to look over the offers from Chelsea and on 5th July 2019 Lampard officially became the head manager of Chelsea FC. So here is our detailed analysis of the first managerial season of Lampard at the Stamford Bridge.
His first season at Stamford Bridge can be termed as a successful one considering the conditions he had to face initially. But according to many the decision of making him the head coach of a club like Chelsea was nothing but a gamble as he lacked the experience of managing in top tier football. And in these situations, things should be thought more with practicality than emotionally.
After the first three matches as Chelsea manager Lampard was yet to register a win for Blues when pundits like Ian Halloway said, “The problem is the exciting young lads I wanted to see at Chelsea, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi – they’re injured,” Holloway said on talkSPORT.
“Frank has nailed his intentions to the mast [about giving youth a chance] and what’s very difficult is you need a blend of senior and young and inexperienced players. “You need the enthusiasm of fearless legs running around everywhere, and we saw that at the start against Leicester, but you always need that game management.”
Rebuilding the Chelsea Squad
Lampard could only finalize the loan deal to the permanent deal of Mateo Kovacic and Cristian Pulisic joined the side last season as the deal was finalized before the transfer ban. So he had to introduce youngsters from the academy which seemed to be a forced move. But this year he is set for a strong rebuild of the team to get back to their glory days. They have already signed a few of the heavyweights and promising youngsters in their squad. Lampard’s first signing of the season was Timo Werner from Rb Leipzig with a transfer fee of around 53m. This was followed by the signing of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax with a signing fee of 40m.
This month had been a busy time for the Chelsea management as they roped Ben Chilwell(50m), Malang Sarr(free transfer), and the veteran centre-back Thiago Silva(free transfer). These signings will rise their summer spending to 220 million but Lampard is still hoping to bring a new goalkeeper into the side leaving Kepa‘s future in danger. The signings are quite impressive and would make the Blues league contenders for next season. The transfer of Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen is almost done but yet to be announced. This would boost up their striking line up alongside the academy graduates like Abraham and Mason Mount. The likes of Silva will bolster their defensive strength which collapsed last season most of the time.
On the other hand, the two wingers Willian and Pedro have left the Stamford Bridge and joined Arsenal and AS Roma respectively. The future of players like N’Golo Kante, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Marcus Alonso is not certain at the Bridge and may have to look elsewhere.
Criticism After FA Cup Final Defeat
After the defeat in FA Cup Final 2020, former England international Darren Bent claimed that people are guarding Lampard with many excuses. Although Lampard faced a transfer ban, departure of their star player Eden Hazard and still managed to finish in the top four with the inclusion of many young talents like from the academy Bent still believes that all the praise he got was not justified.
“That’s going to be pressure in itself because the people in authority will be like hold on, you were forced to do it last season, where are the youngsters this season?
“A lot of people have lauded Frank Lampard for the job he’s done this season. He’s brought through the youngsters… but he was forced to do this.”Bent said on talkSPORT
“It’s an open cheque book, they can sign whoever they want. Are these players still going to get the opportunities?”
Praises For Lampard:
But former Blues defender Melchiot has asked Lampard to ignore the critics and progress with his project. Melchiot has asked Lampard not to worry about the critics and look forward to the next season.
“It’s been a great season,”he told the talkSPORT Breakfast.
“But if you look back, Frank started by taking over a club that had a [transfer] ban, and he had two young boys coming into the team, you have to understand that they didn’t have that much time to readjust.” “He’s got the team to the final of the FA Cup and also made sure they qualify for the Champions League.” “Those kinds of things are crucial and I have to compliment them on that.”
Managerial Statistics at Chelsea
Lampard finished fourth in the league in his first season at Stamford Bridge just behind Manchester United by goal difference. Chelsea reached the Final of FA Cup 2020 where they lost to Arteta’s Arsenal by 2-1. Lampard’s first official game in charge was against Liverpool in the Uefa Super Cup where the Blues lost the match on penalties 5-4 after the match ended in a 2-2 (Extra Time) draw. Lampard registered his victory as the head manager of Chelsea against vs Norwich City in a 2-3 away match. His first season can be considered a successful one, considering the conditions he had to face, but that doesn’t support the tactical flaws he made in some of the matches of the season.
Finishing third assured Blues, the Champions League spot, and that’s a quite success for a manager like Lampard. His first season’s stats record an average of 1.73 points per match(PPM) with 29 W, 8 L, 18 D out of 55 matches. The Blues scored 106 times this season but conceded 84 times, which is a matter of concern, and that’s the reason the likes of Silva have been introduced into the side to bolster their defensive strength. Lampard won the Premier League Manager Of The Month for October as Chelsea recorded a 100% win in the league. He was the third man to achieve this feat after Gareth Southgate and Stuart Pearce.
In his first season, he finished 4th in Premier League and qualified for the Champions League which is itself an achievement for a rookie manager like Lampard. He reached the finals of FA Cup 2020 but lost to Arsenal by 2-1. Reached the round of 16 in the Carabao Cup but lost to Manchester United by 2-1. Lost the Uefa Super Cup Final 2019/20 to Liverpool in penalties 5-4(P). Lampard’s men reached the quarter-finals of UCL but lost to the eventual champions Bayern Munich in an aggregate of 7-1. But still, his work and progress in the Blues squad have been quite impressive, and can bring back the glory days of Chelsea very soon.
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